Wolf Takes Off Its Sheep Suit

I wrote earlier in the month how Francis Collins and the BioLogos Foundation was trying to reconcile evangelical Christians with science in hopes that the two might peacefully co-exist. Well it seems that the (ironically named) Discovery Institute is having none of that.

If you recall, it is the Discovery Institute that has been pushing Intelligent Design as legitimate science, and more recently was covertly was behind the scenes in the Texas school board’s ill-advised push to “teach the controversy”. Their position has been that they are a scientific institute and have no religious affiliation. That ID and the manufactured “evolution controversy” are legitimate scientific topics deserving of classroom discussion. While this was pretty clearly just a ploy on their part to try and keep the courts from ruling that this was a church and state issue, they have been consistently adamant that the issues were not religiously motivated. This was a science-on-science Russian cage match.

How interesting that the Discovery Institute has now launched the Faith & Evolution website, which seems pretty much dedicated to the premise that faith and evolution are incompatible. You need to choose, and God will only favor those who reject evolution. They are rather pointed about this site being a direct response to Collins and BioLogos. In light of this, it seems the Discovery Institute will have a pretty tough time defending itself as a scientifically rather than a religiously motivated organization.

All of which is just fine by me. I would much rather that the Discovery Institute be honest and upfront about them finding science an affront to their religious mythology rather than trying to dress their mythology up and pass it off as science. If your world-view can’t reconcile science and religion, then fine. Say that; reject one of them; move on. In a similar way, most Christians can’t reconcile their religious views with Hinduism. The result being that they (quietly or not) reject Hinduism as wrong and move on. They don’t try and dress up the Bible as somehow being a legitimate variation on Hindu beliefs. Why not treat science with that same arm’s length deference?

And at the risk of answering my own question, I expect science is different because unlike Hinduism, it’s taught as a factual subject in school. On the other hand, Hinduism doesn’t open up so very many career options for graduates. I wonder if the Discovery Institute is hiring? Or doesn’t that matter because Jesus preached the virtues of poverty?


Afghanistan Beats the Pants Off Us

It seems the rugged terrain of the Afghan mountains is taking it’s toll not only on our soldiers, but on their uniforms. In response, the army is rolling out newly designed pants made of heavier material and with built in knee and seat pads. Certainly not high tech stuff, but it does sound pretty useful to the guys in the field.

What’s really amazing though is that the development of these new pants was started over a year ago, and deployment of the improved trousers is not expected until this time next year. Maybe this is more complicated than I’m thinking, but it seems incredible that it takes 2 years to get new and improved pants on our soldiers. I’m betting the army could have worked with Levi’s and had these pants on the shelves at Sears by the start of school in the fall. Government efficiency at its finest.


It’s Hard to Be This Wrong

Kevin Roeten writes on the RedState.com blog a post that is misguided in the same way that hurricane Katrina was unfortunate. Apparently Mr. Roeten has been distressed over the way he and his fellow Christians have been mis-characterized as defenders of torture because they support water boarding. He gets off to an admirable start citing examples where Christians have done heroic humanitarian things in the past. Although I’m not too sure the Christians get the credit for freeing the slaves by virtue of Lincoln having been a Christian, but that’s a small departure from reality as Mr. Roeten warms up for derailing the sanity train.

Roeten really hits his stride with the statement:

Shockingly, many have molded “enhanced interrogation techniques” with “torture”. There’s a huge difference–as well as a major definition variance–they don’t want to talk about.

Torture involves extreme physical pain or even death, such as the cutting off of appendages, gouging of eyes, use of shredders to the body, electrical shock—you name it. Blood is usually involved.

Apparently psychological torture is an oxymoron to Roeten. A point which will come as a surprise to both scientists and soldiers. By his definition, being forced to live in a hot box and wallow in your own excrement would not qualify as torture, nor would rape. And it is from this tortured logic that Roeten is able to conclude that water boarding is not torture either.

In fairness, I’m uncertain that Roeten would defend gang-rape as a valid interrogation tactic. It might shock his conscience just a bit too much. Which begs the question, why isn’t water boarding similarly shocking? After all, this technique has been illegal and regarded by torture in this country for well over a century. We have tried and executed people accused of performing water boarding as criminals. I think that somehow, the Cheney spin machine has managed to turn the idea of water boarding into something more akin to a non-consensual sponge bath in the mind of the Republican faithful. Curious, since pretty much anyone who’s been water boarded, even if just as a training exercise, is pretty convinced it’s torture.

So Roeten’s already jumped the tracks, but then he decides he might as well drive the sanity train right into the ravine, and take as many fellow Christians with him as possible. He asserts:

It’s likely even Jesus would have OK’d water boarding if it would have saved his Mom. He would’ve done the same to save his Dad, or any one of His disciples. For that matter, He even died to save all humans.

Really? Where is the Church of Our Vengeful Savior located?

I’d like to think this guy was a lone nut-job. Unfortunately, there are plenty out there who have similarly twisted and rationalized their own positions as being what Jesus would do. Gratefully, they are not the majority of Christians. So it would behoove everyone if Roeten stuck to asserting his own insanity without implicating others.


Gitmo Exercise

France is leading the way once again. This time they are showing us how to handle prisoners by sending them on long supervised bike rides. As the article’s title notes, what could possibly go wrong?

Although as I’m thinking about it, I’m wondering if maybe this is a model for handling all those Guantanamo Bay detainees that we can’t see to figure out what to do with. Since every state seems scared to death to have these guys reside within their borders, perhaps we could just establish a mobile prison for them. We’ll put all the terrorist and terrorist wannabees on bikes and make them pedal around the nation. That way they won’t reside within any one state’s borders. And in theory, they’ll be too tired at the end of the day to perpetrate any evil. It’s a small price to pay for not having them be a bad influence on the other inmates at our Super Max prisons.